What is a syndicate of co-owners?

The syndicate acts as a legal person bringing together all the co-owners of the building and not each of them individually. The Civil Code of Quebec (C.c.Q.) provides that the syndicate of co-owners arises, by operation of law, at the time of publication of the declaration of co-ownership in the Land register. With the powers devolved to it by law and exercised by its two decision-making bodies, it thus expresses the autonomy of the community of co-owners. As a result, the co-owners are third parties to the syndicate. The assets of the syndicate are thus distinct from those of each co-owner. Despite the collective nature of this type of co-ownership, the legislator has not attributed to the syndicate the ownership of the common portions, which is distributed among the co-owners according to the relative value of their fraction.

Juridical personality 

The syndicate of co-owners is composed of all the co-owners owning at least a fraction in the immovable. It has juridical personality allowing it to have a name and a legal domicile. To carry out its objects conferred by Law, the syndicate has rights and duties. This means that it:

  • has full enjoyment of civil rights:
  • has juridical personality distinct from that of each co-owner;
  • has a name under which it exercises its rights and performs its obligations;
  • has a place and address of its head office where it operates;
  • has a patrimony separate from that of its members; owns   (for example)  a patrimony  which can include immovables (such as , the janitor’s  apartment), movable property, receivables, amounts kept  for current operations or for future works (contingency fund);
  • represents the collective interest which takes precedence over the co-owners individual interests;
  • is independent from its members and its actions are theoretically its own commitments;
  • may take legal action if the interest of the co-ownership is threatened (including by a co-owner);
  • may acquire or sell private portions (if it owns it) and even common portions under certain conditions.


To take its decisions, the syndicate acts through two bodies: the Board of Directors and the Meeting of the co-owners. The respective powers of these decision-making bodies are established by Law and by the declaration of co-ownership.

The Board of Directors (composed of one or more directors) manages the syndicate’s affairs and is responsible for the administration of the immovable. Its role is exercised on a regular and continuous basis.

The Meeting of the co-owners deals with issues of interest to all co-owners. It is also consulted on the budgets of the co-ownership and is empowered to take certain decisions concerning the co-ownership, such as the election of Directors and amendments to the declaration of co-ownership.

Main object

The syndicate has a very specific purpose, which is defined by article 1039 of the Civil Code of Québec (C.c.Q): the preservation of the immovable (private and common portions), maintenance and administration of the common portions, the protection of the rights appurtenant to the immovable or the co-ownership, as well as all business of common interest. In order to avoid any ambiguity about the role of this legal person, a sentence has been added at the end of this section, following the adoption of Bill 16. It reads as follows: [The syndicate] must, in particular, see to it that the work necessary for the preservation and maintenance of the immovable is carried out. He is thus responsible for the conservation of the building as a whole, including the private portions, while he has only the administration of the common portions.

Collective heritage

As a legal person, the syndicate holds a patrimony that is distinct from that of each co-owner. It has a movable assets, consisting in particular of the common expenses paid by the co-owners, the sums accumulated in the contingency fund and the self-insurance fund and the claims that may be owed to it by both third parties and co-owners (e.g. unpaid common expenses). The syndicate may also own real estate, for example an apartment to house the janitor, a private portion, without constituting a common portion of the building.


 WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW! A syndicate of co-owners has a name that is given at the time of its constitution, namely at the time of publication of the declaration of co-ownership. He exercises his rights and performs his obligations under this name. This name must comply with the law and include a statement clearly indicating the legal form it takes, namely that of syndicate of co-owners.

http://www.condolegal.com/images/Boutons_encadres/A_retenir.pngWHAT TO KEEP IN MIND:​ No person other than an co-owner can be a syndicate member, nor may hold any rights in a syndicate.  Neither the developer, once he has transferred all the fractions he owned nor the hypothecary creditors can be part of the syndicate.

WARNING! A syndicate of co-owners may engage in an activity or identify itself under a name other than its own name. It shall give notice to the enterprise register by filing a declaration to that effect and apply for the registration of such a notice in the land register.

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